About Elizabeth Ferruelo

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So far Elizabeth Ferruelo has created 44 blog entries.

I.c.stars co-Founder Sandee Kastrul Inducted Into the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame

2023-07-31T09:51:47-05:00July 31st, 2023|Chicago, National|

Chicago, July 31, 2023— i.c.stars announced today that CEO Sandee Kastrul will be inducted into the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame at the In-Gala on August 3rd. Ms. Kastrul was one of four distinguished leaders in innovation who were honored for their accomplishments in Chicago’s innovation community.

Ms. Kastrul, i.c.stars founder and former teacher, brings a personal awareness of the range of problems and barriers faced by marginalized communities. Her continued relationships in underresourced neighborhoods help assure that program goals remain relevant and impactful. “Diversity is the ultimate driver of innovation” said Kastrul. “Through technology training, community leadership, and wraparound support, we prepare young adults for the jobs and opportunities of the future.  We help employers see the value in non-traditional talent pipelines—value to their bottom line and our society. It’s a win-win approach that helps build Chicago’s innovation community.”

“The Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame […]

Kansas City ABC Features i.c.stars KC Board Chair and NFL Hall of Famer Will Shields

2023-05-16T10:04:59-05:00May 16th, 2023|Kansas City, National, workforce|

Kansas City ABC Features i.c.stars KC Board Chair and NFL Hall of Famer Will Shields

Computer Coding, repair, and even building high-end apps are all a part of the high-tech industry and some high-paying jobs for those interested in getting into the field.

It’s a program former Chiefs lineman and NFL Hall of Famer Will Shields has been hoping to bring to Kansas City for close to four years. “It’s about finding tech talent where tech talent usually isn’t found,” Shields said. “It might not be the coolest thing to be in when you’re in high school.” It’s called IC Stars, and Shields says it’s something that works well with his longtime Kansas City charity, Will to Succeed…

 Watch video…

Another Path: From Intern to Technologist to i.c.stars Milwaukee Board Member

2023-05-12T09:49:17-05:00May 11th, 2023|Mental Health, Milwaukee, National, workforce|

Alexa Lopez
Senior Software Engineer, Accenture
Director, I.C.Stars Board of Directors

Another Path
If ‘Where ‘ is Not Certain, ‘How’ is Not Easy
There were two options for me, as I saw things, college, or a dead-end job. I didn’t know of another path. My parents had left all they knew in Mexico and the Dominican Republic to give me a life of opportunity and security. I want to honor my parent’s sacrifice and to make my family proud. So when I was accepted at Marquette University, it was a big deal. There was a lot of pressure on me to attend college and do well. As the youngest in my family, I felt my family’s expectations, hopes, and dreams on my shoulders. Since I was good at science and math, I planned to study biomedical engineering.

But college was a lonely experience, and after one quarter, I felt something was not working. I was already […]

Forbes Article: Empowering Young Adults Through Tech With Sandee Kastrul of i.c.stars

2023-05-10T10:59:57-05:00May 10th, 2023|National, workforce|

Empowering Young Adults Through Tech With Sandee Kastrul of i.c.stars

There is a growing recognition that the education-to-employment systems in America are not working for most people. That’s why New Profit is investing in visionary social entrepreneurs who are creating access to postsecondary and career opportunities for young people from historically underinvested communities and transforming economic mobility.  Read more…

Hall of Famer Will Shields Kicks off Launch of i.c.stars Kansas City at Pre-Draft event April 26

2023-04-17T16:16:55-05:00April 17th, 2023|Kansas City, National, workforce|

For more information, contact:
Shamika Hogan, Executive Director
i.c.stars Kansas City

Please contact Ruth Baum Bigus,
(913) 707-7746 ruthwrite1@gmail.com

Hall of Famer Will Shields kicks off launch of i.c.stars Kansas City at Pre-Draft event April 26

For Will Shields, NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer (Class of 2015), empowering young people to succeed is part of his DNA. Today, Shields is putting both his mind and muscle behind a new initiative in Kansas City – i.c.stars*, a non-profit organization focused on lifting up young people and helping them succeed in the high-tech sector. (*i.c. stands for “inner-city computer”.)

On Wednesday, April 26, i.c.stars will go in the “first round” as Shields and others kick-off i.c.stars Kansas City at an invitation-only luncheon with area business and community leaders at Husch Blackwell LLP, 4801 W. Main St. Media is invited to attend the 11:30 a.m. event to learn more about this i.c.stars and what it will […]

My AfroTech Experience: An i.c.stars Milwaukee Staff Perspective

2023-03-30T18:48:14-05:00March 29th, 2023|AfroTech, Milwaukee, National, workforce|

Life changing. That’s how I’d describe my experience at the 2022 AfroTech Conference. It was inspiring and energizing, yet also evoked feelings of familiarity similar to coming home for the first time in a long while. Northwestern Mutual invited four of their community partners, including i.c.stars Milwaukee to take part in a booth takeover on the expo floor.

Our goal was to represent the Milwaukee tech eco-system with pride. It was an opportunity to communicate the values and spirit of i.c.stars while also assisting Northwestern Mutual in sharing their vision with potential black and brown employees.

The conference was held in Austin and attended by more than 26,000 industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and Black tech professionals. Top tech recruiters were there, from companies like Apple, Tesla, Nike, Amazon, Visa, Salesforce, Shopify, National Basketball Association and GAP clothing. Many were hiring, and others came to demo products and discuss emerging trends. These companies showed […]

The i.c.stars Residency Program: Bridging The Gap Between Training and Career

2023-03-17T15:06:42-05:00March 16th, 2023|Alumni Support, Milwaukee, National, workforce|

by Koyoua Vang
i.c.stars Milwaukee Graduate

I am a graduate of i.c.stars, working for Northwestern Mutual as a technology operations specialist– the youngest on the team. It’s a job I love, with a company I respect, in a career that can grow. I.c.stars’ technology boot camp prepared me for the technical part of my job.  But the i.c.stars residency that followed added something more, something you won’t find in standard tech training curricula. It gave me a safe place to ask questions, gain confidence, find mentors, and make friends.

The i.c.stars residency bridged the gap between technology classes and practical applications. It’s one of the reasons that i.c.stars graduates remain in a tech field and advance faster than those coming from a conventional academic track.

When Blanca Gonzales, executive director of i.c.stars Milwaukee, asked me to help formalize their residency program, I was thrilled. The Milwaukee office was new—just two years old—but […]

A Volunteer Reflects on i.c.stars’ Hack the Dream Event, In Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.

2023-03-03T11:05:53-06:00March 3rd, 2023|Chicago, National, workforce|

In January, i.c.stars Chicago hosted its annual social impact hackthon Hack the Dream event in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.

Read this summary and reflection from one of the event volunteers, Daviannah Schuh.

i.c.stars Graduate Nick Torres Selected for the Microsoft Leap Apprenticeship Program

2023-01-13T16:39:28-06:00January 13th, 2023|Apprenticeship, Chicago, National, workforce|

i.c.stars Graduate Nick Torres Selected for the Microsoft Leap Apprenticeship Program.
Microsoft Philanthropies shared the Microsoft LEAP opportunity with i.c.stars, which resulted in a life-changing opportunity for i.c.stars graduate Nick Torres.  

I remember the day I was accepted to the Microsoft Leap Program. I was excited and happier than I can say. I knew it was a competitive program, and hard work, but it also meant a solid career and future for me and my family. I.c.stars offered me the opportunity to apply for the Microsoft Leap program, set up mock interviews, and helped me prepare. I’m ready for it, thanks to Larry Cowans, Arely Dorsey, and all the instructors at i.c.stars. But, it almost didn’t happen. 

My wife was looking for jobs on Craigslist and she saw the notice about i.c.stars: […]

Molson Coors and i.c.stars Develop Partnership that Delivers

2023-01-18T12:55:03-06:00November 1st, 2022|Chicago, Milwaukee, National, workforce|

Molson Coors and i.c.stars develop a partnership that delivers

We spoke with Jonah Turner, head of emerging technologies for Molson Coors which is based in Chicago and Milwaukee. Turner works closely with i.c.stars to mentor and develop students—and provide a talent pipeline to Molson Coors.

You are a true believer in the power of the i.c.stars program and its participants. Why?

I joined Molson Coors during the pandemic. As the company was expanding from beer to beverages and growing its Milwaukee workforce, we were looking at unique ways to build our innovation and talent pipeline for IT. I was already a champion of i.c.stars having attended different events and being a workshop sponsor with my previous employer, so I knew that there would be significant value for Molson Coors to become a partner.

The participants going through the program are extremely dedicated, hardworking, and ambitious. Not only do they develop transferrable technical and leadership […]

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